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This generates a shaded relief .tif from a DEM and a color raster, like Mandalay


  • make shadedrelief DEM=my-dem.tif COLOR_RASTER=my-color-raster.tif


We're going to make a shaded relief of southeast asia (Myanmar). We'll use the GMTED2010 viewer, at Click around until you find the desired tile and download the appropriate resolution. For our purposes, 30 arc-sec will do.

Next we need a color raster. Natural Earth has many excellent rasters - see We'll choose Natural Earth I (with no added shaded relief).

Once we have both files, run the following command:

  • make shadedrelief DEM=10N090E_20101117_gmted_mea300.tif COLOR_RASTER=NE1_HR_LC.tif

This will generate an output directory full of various intermediate tifs, including the final composite: shadedrelief.tif. Enjoy!

Another example

We want to make a shaded relief of Europe and bits of Asia. We'll use Natural Earth III's small grayscale DEM, because it offers a lower resolution than others I found. Perhaps when I figure out how to decrease DEM resolutions this step will become deprecated.

Unfortunately that DEM doesn't come georeferenced. But we can fix that:

  • gdal_translate -of GTiff -a_srs EPSG:4326 -a_ullr -180 90 180 -90 dem.tif dem_georeferenced.tif

Now we can run the above command. Notice that we're using Natural Earth's cross blended hypsometric tint:

  • make shadedrelief DEM=dem_georeferenced.tif COLOR_RASTER=HYP_LR.tif

We're done: Shaded relief of Europe and East Asia